The Importance of IT Policy and Practice

July 16, 2008 at 5:26 pm 2 comments

The reliance on technology is increasing, and in many cases, technical reliance is the Achilles’ heel of companies, organizations and government bodies. This dependency creates a substantial need for competent and trustworthy IT staff but all-too-often, IT Departments are neglected and poorly financed. Keeping technology “on the level” is often expensive and time-consuming. Many existing groups simply stay afloat when it comes to technology. The job of the IT staff is to patch holes in a sinking life-boat. This is an example of how many organizations “shoot themselves in the foot.”

Computer hardware and networking infrastructure is the main component in any enterprise architecture. The infrastructure consists of the workstations where users enter their data, the twisted pair cable that transmits that data, and the database that stores it. This is only a basic example but suffice to say, there is a lot of hardware and software that goes into operating a successful network. The IT staff is responsible for developing and maintaining the network framework.

Also, another key role of IT is to offer systems support. To do this, staff must be trained and knowledgeable on all software that will be utilized by the end user. Most technical savvy individuals can figure out software fairly easily. Software is developed logically (we hope) and therefore should be easily deciphered by logical people.

Support is fairly all-inclusive and ambiguous as terms go. Support also includes the mundane and ordinary things that need to be maintained on the servers and network. Should a user suddenly misplace or lose files due to drive failures or user error, the competent IT staff will be able to restore or repair the issue. This is where policies and practices are extensively tested.

Policies and practices are the fundamental laws set by administrators to create a logical set of instructions for dealing with real and hypothetical situations on a network. The importance of policy and implementation of policy can not be stressed enough. It is the only way to stay sane in the world of information technology. The greatest method of implementing successful policy and practice standards is IT governance.

Governance is a tool utilized by organizations to keep large groups of people abreast of the state and function of information technology. IT was once a stand-alone operation, a thug that had to strong-arm its users into acceptance of security practices and various restricting policies. Governance allows a much more democratic approach to running IT efficiently. Its primary function is to give non-IT personnel a chance to weigh in and democratically decide what priorities and standards IT will utilize. This removes one of the hardest tasks IT has to face: compliance.

In larger companies and government settings, policy compliance is rarely upheld by authorities in independent departments. The reason that IT policies are disregarded is because of authoritative power struggles. Any management personnel that does not report to IT management feels that IT has no control over their department and any type of reliance on IT is seen as a weakness on their part. This is a dramatization but I firmly believe that this is the case.

In many cases, IT is at the mercy of the compliance of the end-users. If a user brings in a thumb-drive from home that is infected with a virus, the network is compromised. If a user has the ability to download and install anything from the internet, the network is compromised. If a user brings in a virus and that virus corrupts the user’s data and it is lost, IT is compromised. It’s easy to see the relationship between IT and the user that it serves. Compliance of policies is extremely important. A policy would state something along these lines: “No user may use a USB drive without prior authorization. To receive authorization, please contact the IT staff.” At this point, the IT staff member assigned to this task would check the item for viruses and ensure that it is safe to connect to the network.

Policies and practices create secure networks and safe practices for users who operate applications. Without the technology, we are less productive and without value. It is important to operate within guidelines and enforce IT compliance. It is the only way to ensure that your data will be there when you need it.

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Entry filed under: Policy and Practices. Tags: , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stephen Pizzuti  |  June 11, 2013 at 7:35 pm

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  • 2. click here  |  August 4, 2013 at 1:03 am

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